Ask any working mother what her number one challenge is. I have. The most common response you will hear time, or lack thereof.
I wish I could build you a time generation machine. I would gift you all a few extra hours in your day. But until I can figure out how to do that (and wow what a patent that would be!) I thought we could talk about the next best thing: working with the time that you do have and making the most of it.
Whether you work “between the (school) bells” or during naptime and “after hours” OR whether you work a traditional 9-5, your work hours are finite.
You likely DON’T need to extend those hours if you can first learn how to be more effective with what you do have available to you. Here I want to share with you 5 PROVEN strategies for time management, and the importance of time management for mothers.
These are tactics for managing the time available in your work “day” so you can MAXIMIZE your effectiveness and output.
5 PROVEN STRATEGIES FOR TIME MANAGEMENT
1. KNOW WHAT YOU ARE SPENDING TIME ON NOW
We are notoriously out of touch with how long tasks actually take us.
We may also be quite blind to the small ways we are wasting time in our day. For example, do you know how much time you spend on Social Media each day?
The best way to get a handle on HOW you are spending your time (so you can actually make decisions using cold hard facts) is to keep a time diary for a period of (at minimum) one week. Simply write down each task that you complete, and how long it takes you. Record every minute of your work “day”.
2. CREATE PROCESSES, AUTOMATE REPEATING TASKS
With the black-and-white proof of a time diary, you can start to identify what tasks you are performing over and over again.
Likely all or part of this task is something you can create a process around. Anything can be created as a process.
You should specifically look at ways you can utilize automation in a process so that you cut down on the amount of work you actually have to do each time you perform the sequence. For example, utilize automated email sequences in an email client like Convert Kit*.
Use canned responses in your email, a feature of GMAIL, for responses you write regularly. After you have completed your time audit, identify the top 5 tasks you repeat regularly and spending time mapping these into easily managed processes. Find automation whenever you can.
3. DELEGATE IF YOU CAN, AND REAP THE BENEFITS OF TIME MANAGEMENT
Many of us mothers are kicking this thing solo.
That means that every task – from marketing our business to keeping tidy accounting, falls on our shoulders. However, if you can find room in your budget, as your revenue grows, to start to push tasks off of your plate, go first to those tasks that take up the majority of your time, but that you do not like completing.
Chances are they take up too much time BECAUSE you do not enjoy doing them (and are likely not very good at them). Getting an expert in can be a huge time saver, and someone who thrives in this particular area will likely complete the task in a fraction of the time it takes you to do the same (poorly). Learn how to find ways in your budget and business to delegate the tasks that are holding you back from working within your Area of Brilliance.
When you are given more time to work in that zone, you will actually be able to generate more money from your business.
If you are unable to delegate at work, take a good look at your home duties. Are there tasks at home that you can delegate to family members to give you more time in work mode? It may or may not be possible, but is always worth considering.
4. TIME BLOCKING
One of the reasons we often feel pressed for time as mothers is we are not actually using the time available to us very effectively.
Have you ever sat down with your to-do list and felt so overwhelmed that in the few hours you did have to chip away at it, you accomplished nothing instead?! I have and it’s an awful feeling. It leads to big self-doubt, which is counter-productive.
My favorite way to zap feeling overwhelmed is to manage my time with time blocking. This might look like assigning certain tasks, such as writing content for your website, to a specific day of the week. You could do this every Thursday morning. It might mean dividing your workday up into sections assigned to different tasks.
Because I run a thriving copywriting and ghostwriting business, and a working mother, I assign specific weekdays to my client work.
5. MINIMIZE DISTRACTIONS, and BECOME YOUR OWN TIME MANAGEMENT COACH
You knew I was going to get you on this!
One of the ways we are ineffective in tackling our tasks is spending too much time being distracted by other moving parts.
This can be social media (the ping that tells you someone messaged you, or commented on your post) but it can also belittle people. I used to be a parenting editor of a well-known digital magazine. I almost always completed my work with a little person (or two or three) around me.
I realized through hard knocks that this is doing NO ONE any favours – not my children, not me, and not my boss.
Whenever possible now, I work during kid-free time only and I shut down when my children are home.
I know, as a mother, it can be hard to bring in childcare or to section your day based on your child’s schedule, but I also know that trying to divide your attention between your work and your child stretches you in ineffective ways.
Talk with your whole family about your office hours, post these in the house to remind everyone. Work with everyone in your family to make the boundaries around these hours clear and set in stone. Be inflexible not because you are self-indulgent but because you recognize you are worth it and your business is worth it.
Shut off social media and designate times in your day when you can check-in. Choose time in your schedule for completing “power tasks” and make sure these times are distraction-free.
Hopefully the above helped you better understand the importance of time management, and if you need to, you can always hire a time management coach.
Good luck with your wealth-creating journey.
If you enjoyed this post, you might also enjoy this one: How Much Money Do You Need To Never Have To Work Again? Let’s Do The Math.
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Also, I published a book during the summer of 2018, “The Kickass Entrepreneur’s Guide to Investing, Three Simple Steps to Create Massive Wealth with Your Business’s Profits.” It was number 1 on Amazon in both the business and non-fiction sections. You can get a free copy here.